Grand worship of new Durga idol from India

Durga Sakhis
Durga Sakhis

CHICAGO: The Bengali Association of Greater Chicago (BAGC) held Durga Utsav in the weekend Oct 16 -18 in its usual splendid style at Bartlett High School Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Auditorium and halls in Bartlet with over 1300 members and guests in attendance.

The grand worship of new Durga Idol from India was adorned and embellished by volunteers with a supportive puja committee. The sound of the drums (Dhak), the conch, the vocal “Oolu” all integral part of the Bengali traditions were executed to bring in the feeling of being in Kolkata to all the devotees.

The auspicious flower offerings ‘Pushpanjali’ and ‘Arati’ were conducted in an organized manner. The ‘Prasad’ offerings or ‘holy food’ made fresh on the spot was distributed by dedicated volunteers through the three days. The sound of the Dhak was enhanced by Dhunuchi dance.

As part of the cultural programs, the community artists spent months preparing and rehearsing with large groups, involving members of all ages in dance, song, and drama. The cultural committee managed the program over three days which constituted more than two hundred members of the association taking part in the programs and several volunteers helping with the management.

The culminating part was the selection of the artists, performers from Kolkata and Mumbai that really drove home the feeling of being in India and passing it to the next generation. It was the Best Ever Cultural Event in BAGC Durga Puja in several years that left the audience in awe after the three days.

Friday evening program was by the popular Indian Idol sensation and playback singer Rajdeep Chatterjee who sang nostalgic Bengali songs and Hindi songs. He had the whole house dancing and jumping to his great selection of songs!

The popular band from Kolkata, Chandrabindoo, was a real treat for the packed house. People clapped in anticipation of their known songs and commentary. This was their favorite band brought to the largest Midwest Puja audience. A huge crowd cheered the silver jubilee milestone celebration by the trio Anindya, Upal and Chandril.

The Pièce-de-résistance was planned for Sunday with the presentation by the Devis and Devas of the first all women classical band led by the eminent Indian vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty. They celebrated womanhood with enthralling vocals, music, and dance. The performances covered many pieces based on ragas such a Durga, Basant Hindol, and more.

The colorful play between Radha and Krishna with beautiful flute interludes made it seem like the Lord was really among us. The presentation of the swan as a woman; triumph of good over evil with violin interludes mesmerized those in the audience. The entranced audience including toddlers did not stir for over two hours.

Sujatha Purkayastha

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